|The Week That Was
March 6, 2004
1. New on the Web: Double feature: SOME GOOD READING ABOUT THE GLOBAL
WARMING SCARE BY JAMES TAYLOR
AND BY DUNCAN
MAXWELL ANDERSON. You've heard it before from SEPP but they say it
2. WHITE HOUSE ACCUSED OF POLITICIZING SCIENCE - BUT IS IT TRUE?
3. BIG FLAP ABOUT "PENTAGON REPORT"
4. CLIMATE HORROR FILM COMING
5. ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGES: MYTHS AND REALITY
6. NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS AND HEALTH
7. NUCLEAR NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
8. And finally, GERMAN GOVERNMENT SHOWS ANTI-NUCLEAR BIAS
2. Is President Bush Politicizing Science?
by Dennis T. Avery , February 26, 2004
A whole posse of Nobel Prize laureates and National Science Medal winners
has accused the Bush White House of politicizing science. That's odd,
since President Bush is proposing more peer reviews of the science going
into federal reports and rule-making.Peer review is the gold standard
Why would scientists be against that? In fact, given the recent history
of U.S. government agencies ignoring science to pursue politically correct
agendas, the science community ought to applaud more peer review.I recall
Carol Browner, newly appointed as head of the Environmental Protection
Agency by President Clinton, saying we should stop using pesticides, so
we could stop arguing scientific details like parts per billion residues.
She'd evidently forgotten that pesticides protect our food, kids and pets
from insects and diseases. Fortunately, peer-reviewed science forced her
to recognize that "the dose makes the poison" and parts per
billion aren't much risk.
The current guidelines on trace contaminants in fish from the EPA's "environmentalists"
are 40 times tighter than those set by the food scientists at the Food
and Drug Administration to protect consumer safety. If the alarmists at
EPA had to get their proposed regulations past a peer-reviewed science
requirement at the Office of Management and Budget, it would save us a
lot of aggravation.William Schlesinger, the president of the Ecological
Society of America, says he finds Bush's new peer-review requirement "alarming."
It that because he has the EPA in his hip pocket?
Over at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they're trying to institute
a new salmon-protection policy. Seventeen environmental groups say it's
inadequate because it wouldn't breach four expensive federal power dams
on the Snake River. The eco-groups claim the dams are killing off the
Columbia Basin salmon. In the past, however, they've also claimed that
logging, irrigated farming, and pollution were individually and collectively
responsible for killing off the salmon.
Both salmon fishermen and marine researchers say the dominating salmon
factor has been the natural 25-year cycle in Columbia River salmon runs.
From 1977 to 2002, the Columbia salmon declined. Since 2002, the river
has had record salmon runs, and the cycle says they're likely to thrive
for the next 20 years regardless of U.S. salmon policy. How about some
peer-reviewed examination of the cycle?The big gripe of the "science
petitioners," however is global warming. President Bush doesn't much
believe in this most politically correct icon of the Left.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is complaining that the Administration
hasn't given enough weight to a flimsy 1998 "study" of global
warming by Dr. Michael Mann, a newly minted PhD at the University of Virginia.
The Mann paper says there wasn't any Medieval Warming in the twelfth century
even though the historical and scientific evidence is overwhelming -literally
hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on glaciers, tree rings, ice cores,
and Japanese Medieval court records.
Peer-reviewed critics now say the Mann paper left out key data and miscalculated
its numbers. Al Gore frantically promoted it because it supported his
fossil-fuel scare.The UCS is also unhappy that the Bush administration
has paid attention to a review of the world's past climate warmings and
coolings done by two highly qualified climate researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics.
The Harvard-Smithsonian paper says the earth is constantly warming and
cooling due to such natural causes as variations in the sun's intensity.
Peer reviewers have agreed.Obviously, there's a real question whether
the earth's current slow and erratic warming is man-made -- or natural
as were the known warm periods in Roman times and in the twelfth century.
The Bush White House says we should look at the hundreds of scientific
research papers on the earth's variable climate history and such new data
as readings from a new satellite that monitors-the ever-the sun's varying
The Union of Concerned Scientists says, in effect, that we should only
look at the alarmist science telling us to scrap our energy systems and
live in mud huts.I say bring on more peer review, in federal science and
across the spectrum. Good science has nothing to lose from open debate,
and the public has everything to gain. Let the press write about the real
science debates instead of the activists' packaged scares.
Dennis T. Avery is director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global
3. Big flap about "Pentagon Report"
Never underestimate the ability of the White House to shoot itself in
the foot. A Pentagon-commissioned report of last year just surfaced and
created tidal waves of attacks on the White House internationally. The
report summarized a contract "study" by two outside "experts"
with no perceptible climate science credentials but with a vested interest
in creating concerns. "Imagining the Unthinkable," it indulges
in scenarios of possible future disasters based on vivid imagination,
unrestrained by climate science. The authors claim to have consulted scientists
-- but these remained nameless, perhaps not wishing to have their names
associated with the report.
The report was first picked up by Fortune magazine on January 26 as "Climate
Collapse: The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare," but considered so far-out
that it was ignored. It only got legs a month later, after receiving the
sensationalist treatment for which British tabloids are famous, followed
by stories in the world press.
Here's how The Observer (of the U.K.Guardian Group) referred to the Report
on Feb 22:
"Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
Threat to the world is greater than terrorism, etc., etc."
An Italian paper headline "Pentagon and the collapse of the planet,"
prompted a calming response in Il Sole 24 Ore on Feb 24 by the Cabinet
Chief of the Environment Ministry, who warned against "disinformation."
The German press was more restrained. A quality paper simply reported
that the Pentagon report labeled climate change a greater threat than
Of course, Greenpeace showed no such restraints: As released on Feb 22:
"A world thrown into turmoil by drought, floods, typhoons. Whole
countries rendered uninhabitable. The political capital of the Netherlands
submerged. The borders of the US and Australia patrolled by armies firing
into waves of starving boat people desperate to find a new home. Fishing
boats armed with cannon to drive off competitors. Demands for access to
water and farmland backed up with nuclear weapons. Sound like the ravings
of doom-saying environmental extremists? It's actually from a report commissioned
by the Pentagon on how to ready America for the coming climate Armageddon."
Well, it does sound like the ravings of doomsayers. What have they been
As an atmospheric/ocean scientist and former director of the US Weather
Satellite Service (NOAA), I know that the actual data do not support any
of the scary climate scenarios. There is not even a scientific consensus
on whether the earth is currently warming. The best global data we have,
from satellites and, independently, from instruments carried by weather
balloons, do not show any appreciable atmospheric temperature rise in
the past quarter-century.
What then is the basis for these jeremiads? The favorite scenario of
certain climate modelers is one in which the North Atlantic Gulf Stream
is turned off, thereby transforming Western Europe into Siberia. But more
realistic models show that the warmer European temperatures are not caused
by the Gulf Stream at all but by perturbation of atmospheric circulation
induced by the Rocky Mountains of the Western U.S. Another model shows
that even as there is a freshening of the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream
is strengthened not weakened. Finally, we have the direct evidence from
the atmosphere itself: Previous warmings, the Holocene Optimum (8000-5000
years ago) and the Medieval Climate Optimum (ca. AD 1000), did not cause
any abrupt cooling.
Of course, the authors of what has been mislabeled as the "Pentagon
Report" pay no attention to data that disagrees with their preconceived
views - and so do all of the Bush-bashers I have cited here. They also
ignore published, peer-reviewed modeling results that do not support any
abrupt climate changes from increasing greenhouse gases. The Pentagon
Report authors even go so far as to distort published data that clearly
show the strong natural climate warming period 8000 to 5000 years ago
- without causing any calamities. This warming disappears somehow in the
figure they print in their Report.
SEPP Comment: For science, see Item #5 below
4. Climate Horror Film Coming
The next attack on reality is just around the corner. On May 28, Hollywood
will release its climate horror film "The Day After Tomorrow."
Dennis Quaid plays the earnest climate researcher to whom no one listens;
but then the icecaps melt and somehow the Earth freezes over, and there
goes New York. Another "Godzilla." The director, German-born
Roland Emmerich, considers this film as his personal statement against
Bush' refusal to adopt the Kyoto Protocol. With its impressive trick photography
suggesting reality, this film is sure to have a strong political impact.
We can see it now: Mass showings for school children, women's clubs,
church congregations, etc followed by earnest discussions about its significance,
led by "scientists." Never underestimate the power of such a
film - with its ability to confuse the public with digital disasters.
Remember "Godzilla" and "Jurassic Park"
5. Abrupt Climate Changes: Myths and Reality
S. Fred Singer, Univ of Virginia
Abstract for Workshop, Eskisehir (Turkey), 20-23 June 2004,:
Attention has focused recently on abrupt climate changes and their consequences
. Such changes have occurred throughout history for reasons not well
understood. Generally, they were more prevalent and/or pronounced during
colder periods, such as during the glaciation that ended some 15,000 years
It is becoming evident that human influences on climate, such as a predicted
gradual greenhouse warming, are not only minor compared to natural forcings
but are likely to be beneficial. Driven largely by politics, some scientists
and the popular press have revived fears of abrupt climate change. Chief
among these is the so-called "secret Pentagon Report" - which
is neither secret nor a Pentagon position. It expresses simply the vivid
imagination of the two authors who obtained a contract for "Imagining
Greenpeace, in a burst of realism, wonders whether the Report sounds "like
the ravings of doom-saying environmental extremists."
This political charade, aiming to force the White House to adopt the
Kyoto Protocol, will grow after May 28, when Hollywood releases the climate
horror film "The Day After Tomorrow," which shows the icy destruction
of New York City. It will reach a crescendo before the US presidential
elections in November 2004.
The favorite scenario of certain climate modelers is one in which the
North Atlantic oceanic "conveyor belt" and Gulf Stream are turned
off, thereby turning Western Europe into Siberia. But more realistic models
show that the warmer European temperatures are not set by the Gulf Stream
but by the perturbation of the atmospheric circulation induced by the
Rocky Mountains of the Western US . Another model shows that even as
there is a freshening of the North Atlantic, the conveyor belt is strengthened
not weakened . Finally, we have the direct evidence from the atmosphere:
Previous warmings, the Holocene optimum (8000-5000 BP) and the Medieval
Climate Optimum (ca. 1000 AD), did not cause any abrupt cooling.
1. National Research Council 2002. Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable
Surprises. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
2. Seager, Richard. 2003. Quart. J Royal Meterorol. Soc
3. Wu, P., Wood, R., and Stott, P., 2004. Does the recent freshening
trend in the North Atlantic indicate a weakening of the thermohaline circulation?
Geophys. Res. Lett. 31: 10.1029/2003GL018584.
6. Nuclear Power Plants and Health
A group called the Radiation and Public Health Project recently released
seemingly alarming statistics about cancer and infant health in downstate
Grundy County. The group implied that an alleged rise in health problems
was related to the Dresden 2 and 3 nuclear reactors in Morris (Illinois),
which have license renewals pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"Infant deaths, childhood cancer soar near Dresden plant," a
statement from the group shouted.
This is the same group that has drawn accusations of peddling junk science
for its ongoing project to assess the impact of above-ground nuclear bomb
testing by examining old collections of baby teeth. In Grundy County,
its case is a textbook example of the old saw, "Statistics will tell
you anything if you torture them enough."
At the request of the Chicago Tribune, Tiefu Shen, chief of the division
of epidemiological studies at the Illinois Department of Public Health,
took a look at the numbers. In example after example, he said, the statistics
cited by the group were technically accurate, but meaningless.
A clue that something's fishy is that the group cherry-picked time frames
instead of looking at health statistics over the same period of time.
The group examined infant deaths from 1990 to 2000. But it looked at birth
defects from 1992 to 2001. For cancer rates, it was 1986 to 1999.
A well-chosen time frame affects one of the group's most eye-catching
claims: the cancer rate for Grundy County youths (15 years old and younger)
The baseline was 1990 to 1994, when there was one instance of cancer recorded.
That was compared to 1995 to 2000, when there were six. Adjust for population
growth, annualize the rates -- and voila! The group can claim a 377 percent
increase in cancer rates.
What the group doesn't mention is the inconvenient fact that Grundy County's
cancer rate for youths 15 and under is lower than the state's. (Grundy
County's rate was 8.1 cancers per 100,000 people from 1990 to 2000; the
state's was 13.7 per 100,000.) As population in the county rises, you
would expect cancer rates in Grundy County's to converge with state cancer
A statistician would rightly point out that the smaller the population,
the less reliable health statistics will be. Statistically, Grundy County's
cancer rate for youths is indistinguishable from the state's rate. The
key point is that there's no sign of an unusual amount of cancer among
Grundy County youths.
The group found the rate of infant deaths "soared 98 percent"
from the first half of the 1990s to the second half, while it fell 11
But Grundy County's infant mortality rate is lower than the state's: From
1997 to 2001, it was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 6.2
For seven out of 10 health measures cited by the radiation group, there's
no statistical difference between Grundy County and the state.
On two measures--babies born with low birth weight or very low birth weight--Grundy
County does significantly better than the state. In only one measure,
cancer deaths for those over 65, Grundy County looks worse than the state.
In that case, Grundy County's rate resembles neighboring Kendall County,
which doesn't have a nuclear power plant.
"Overall, we don't see a systematic pattern indicating that Grundy
County's health statistics are worse than the state's," Shen said.
Beyond that, there is no evidence to suggest that deaths in the county
can be traced to the nuclear plant.
In 2000, the Illinois Public Health Department compared child cancer statistics
for counties with nuclear reactors and compared them to similar counties
without reactors. It found no statistically significant difference.
In a study published in 1990, the National Institutes of Health looked
at cancer rates and proximity to 62 nuclear power plants. It found no
connection. In January 2001, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering
published a report on cancer rates among people living near the Haddam
Neck nuclear power plant. The academy found no link there either.
The point is not to summarily dismiss concerns about nuclear power plants
and health. Of course, nuclear power plants should be monitored and regulated
closely. But critics only lose credibility by stoking fears with trumped-up
statistics purporting to show a link between nuclear plants and illness.
SEPP Comment: The Radiation and Public Health Project's case is
7. Nuclear News from Around the World
Nuclear energy advances :
In China, from the present 8 to 30 reactors in 2020; with 4 being built
Japan: 3 reactors being built, adding to the present 53 units.
Russia plans to double nuclear capacity by 2020.
In the US, 23 out of 104 plants have their operating license extended
from 40 to 60 years.
In Canada, 3 out of 8 reactors closed for 5 years are again inopereation.
But ideological action in Germany against the sale of the Hanau MOX plant
Greenpeace protest in Hamburg: Schroeder = Plutonium Dealer = SPD (the
initials of ruling German party).
Meanwhile IPPNW (Int'l Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War), together
with assorted Greens and the usual actors, singers, writers, offer to
buy the plant for 50 million +1 Euros in order to destroy it.
8. German government shows anti-nuclear bias
In Germany, the Group for Reactor Safety (GRS) suggests release of an
artificial fog to shield reactors against terrorist attacks with hijacked
aircraft. The Ministry for Environment considers this inadequate - an
obvious ploy to try to make life difficult for utilities owning nuclear
plants and put them out of business.
SEPP Comments: This is ridiculous. Reactors are poor targets; we
can forget about fogs. But what about chemical plants, refineries, football
stadiums, or the Reichstag?
Cash & Kerry: major green funding group launders his wife's money
into his campaign--President Bush's leadership and decisions after 9/11
were sure to become a centerpiece of his re-election campaign, as his
opponents knew. So the moment he aired ads with images of the 9/11 atrocity,
they were ready with a carefully orchestrated response.
It turns out that those "9/11 families" who suddenly turned
up everywhere in the media to protest the Bush ads were--surprise!--part
of an organized, well-established left-wing group, "September Eleventh
Families for Peaceful Tomorrows." This strident pacifist group, which
also opposed the War in Afghanistan, actually represents only 120 of the
3,000 families of 9/11 victims--though you'd never know that from the
adoring press coverage.
But wait--it gets even better.
"Peaceful Tomorrows" is an official project of, and heavily
funded by, the Tides Center and its parent group, the Tides Foundation--a
radical leftist operation that launders millions in donor cash to a wide
range of socialist, environmentalist, and anti-war groups--while keeping
donors' identities secret (for a fee). For example, according to the Capital
Research Center, a watchdog group, "Here are a few notable nonprofits
started, managed or funded by Tides: the Natural Resources Defense Council,
Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Working Group
and the Ruckus Society."
And guess who is a major contributor to the Tides network?
Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democrat candidate John Kerry--that's who.
She is chairman of the Howard Heinz Endowment, which channeled over $4
million to the Tides Foundation between 1995-2001. Two other Heinz family
foundations which she leads have donated an additional $2 million.
That's not all. We've noted here that the League of Conservation Voters
(LCV), a 'viro political lobby, jumped onto the Kerry for President campaign
with a surprisingly early primary endorsement. Capital Research notes
that "In 2000, the LCV waited until April to endorse Vice President
Gore, a candidate whose advocacy for LCV's positions on environmental
issues is much stronger than Kerry's. Why did LCV jump so early on the
"A clue may be found in grants the Heinz Endowments of Pittsburgh
made to environmental groups whose leaders sit on the LCV board of directors.
Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Senator Kerry, is chairman of the Howard Heinz
Endowment (HHE) and a board member of the Vira I. Heinz Endowment (VHE)
as well as chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. The LCV Education
Fund received $10,000 from the Heinz Family Foundation in 2001. More importantly,
at least four members of the LCV board of directors lead environmental
groups that received more than $1,000,000 from the Heinz philanthropies
in the past three years."
Among LCV board members whose groups received major contributions from
the various Heinz philanthropies run by Teresa Heinz Kerry are: John Adams,
president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (which received $50,000
in 2003); William Meadows III, president of the Wilderness Society (which
received $50,000 in 2003); and Fred Krupp, president of Environmental
Defense (which received over $600,000 in the period 2001-2003).
Now we all know that John Kerry pledged to refuse "special interest"
contributions, right? And we all know that individual campaign donors,
like his activist wife, are legally limited to only $2,000 in campaign
contributions, right? But through devious money-laundering and back-room
influence-peddling, the Kerrys and the rest of Gang Green manage to by-pass
campaign finance laws, manipulate the media, and deceive voters. Such
are the ways of the noble "idealists" of environmentalism. [Posted
Your leader "Leadership costs" [1 March 2004] advocates a Eurozone
Plan B if Russia says nyet to Kyoto.
Why worry? Kyoto, with Russia aboard, is estimated to affect temperature
by -002 degrees centigrade by 2050 and by -005 degrees even if US were
to join. [Oct. 22 Nature magazine [395-741] ]
Apparently the P.M fears climate warming is more of a threat than WMDs
-surely more than a Freudian slip? And Dr Hans Blix said last week "I
for one am more worried about global warming than WMD" and in the
same speech in Cambridge Union that he was certain of the absence of a
real WMD threat since March 2003-at least that is consistent!
The real threat is observance of Kyoto, even partial, given its high cost
in coming decades when economic growth may be more elusive.
Subj: The Censorship of Science
Date: 3/9/04 01:39:40 GMT Standard Time
The 'Independent" deserves congratulation for according the attempt
to muzzle Sir David King's views on global warming the prominence which
it deserves. The question whether or not the phenomenon deserves the attention
which it is receiving is of profound importance and may well dominate
public debate in this century. It is also likely to achieve a high level
of public concern when alarmist films such as 'If the Lights Go Out"
(BBC2) and "The Day after Tomorrow" (to be released on May 28th)
scare the public out of their wits.
Several matters which may well affect the future of civilisation will
doubtless occupy public attention in the decades ahead before history
provides a proof of the accuracy or otherwise of present global warming
science. The debate is between those who advocate policies of immense
cost and consequence and those who believe that the underlying science
fails to support such drastic measures as the Kyoto Treaty involves or
implies. Above all the primary question, which at the moment is clearly
unresolved, is whether or not the phenomenon exists or is a figment of
our scientific imagination. There appears to be a profound reluctance
to admit that satellite measurements of temperature, amongst others such
as the melting of glaciers and Antarctic ice cover, provide sceptics with
a justification which cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. Moreover there
is a tendency in Europe to dismiss the fact that the USA has spent $18
billion, three times as much as any other country, on global warming research
and that a substantial body of scientists in that country argues that
the geological record of the warming and cooling of the planet over many
millennia provides evidence of periods of significant warming and cooling
which are apparently clearly related to a variation in solar phenomena
over which mankind evidently will have no control. Nor is scepticism by
any means confined to the USA.
Much of the debate and the science underlying it has clearly been dominated
by the attempt to prove that the human use of energy, especially that
which has resulted from the use of fossil fuels, is the prime cause of
global warming and other forms of pollution. It is therefore of the utmost
importance that no policies designed to reverse this situation, which
would involve massive public expenditure and a significant change in the
balance between the developed and undeveloped world and their mutual obligations,
should be implemented unless and until this question is resolved. If this
analysis is correct the following conclusions arise. First, the political
processes involving the assessment of global warming science, must be
strengthened. Secondly the factual basis of the science should, in so
far as it possible, in a world which has already lined up so-called environmentalists
and their critics in opposite camps, be rigorously insulated from vested
interests or political motivations. Thirdly the media should be encouraged
to present the facts impartially and objectively, however difficult this
The above clearly implies that the future of civilisation may well depend
on the pursuit, publication and acceptance of the most rigorous scientific
analysis and its honest presentation to a public whose understanding of
these issues is bound to be limited and biased, however much policies
designed to improve what is described as the 'public understanding of
science" are implemented. In such circumstances nothing could be
more damaging to public confidence in the debate and those who participate
in it than an attempt to muzzle men such as Sir David King, however embarrassing
those holding political authority may find his views. If the views of
the Chief Scientific Adviser to the government are either flawed or inaccurate,
these should be made known and open to both professional and public criticism.
In a century dominated by policies based on science our whole future may
well depend on submitting the integrity of scienctific analysis and its
policy implications to this fundamental freedom of analysis and opinion.
Sir Ian Lloyd
It is disconcerting, however, to listen to Hans Blix, the former United
Nations chief weapons inspector, who believes that global warming is at
least as important a threat as global terrorism. He told BBC1's "Breakfast
with Frost" on March 7: "I think we still overestimate the danger
of terror. There are other things that are of equal, if not greater, magnitude,
like the environmental global risks." This clearly labels him a certified
idiot. We should be grateful that he is no longer in charge to deal with
the truly serious problem of nuclear terrorism facing us in the coming
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